Section 23 of the Public Health (Alcohol) Act came into force on January 11, 2021. This bans some promotions which incentivize alcohol use thus improving availability rules in the country. The new ‘Sale and Supply of Alcohol Products Regulations‘ ban the following promotions:
- Multibuy deals: Promotions that allow for alcoholic beverages to be sold at a reduced price or given away for free when bought alongside other products.
Example: “Buy six bottles of wine for €50.”
- Short-term price promotions: Offers where the price of an alcoholic beverage product is reduced for a period of less than 3 days.
- Loyalty points: The awarding of loyalty card points or similar type points on the purchase of alcohol products.
Example: Loyalty points offered for buying from Tesco or Dunnes do not apply for alcohol products anymore and vouchers can not be used to buy alcohol. Off-premise alcohol stores such as O’Briens will have to discontinue loyalty schemes completely.
We welcome this latest step on what is a very long journey to implementing the Public Health Alcohol Act,” said Eunan McKinney, Head of Communications at Alcohol Action Ireland as per their website
The operation of these regulations now ensures that people are not further incentivised, or rewarded, for using alcohol.”Eunan McKinney, Head of Communications, Alcohol Action Ireland
The Public Health (Alcohol) Act was adopted into law in 2018. The Act aims to reduce the alcohol consumption and resulting harm, specifically to children.
It is estimated that over 2,790 deaths per year are related to alcohol in Ireland.
Statistics from last year reveal per capita alcohol consumption reduced slightly from 11 liters in 2018 to 10.78 liters in 2019.
Irish households spend more on alcohol than the EU average, according to Eurostat.
One of the primary objectives of our Public Health (Alcohol) Act is to delay the initiation of alcohol consumption by children and young people,” said Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly, as per RTE.
These regulations will ensure that price promotions which result in the sale of alcohol products at pocket money prices cannot continue.
The coming into force of these regulations is further progress toward our objective of reducing the health harms of alcohol consumption in our country.”Stephen Donnelly, Minister for Health, Republic of Ireland
The government has taken a stage-wise approach to implementing the Act. In 2019 several improvements regarding alcohol marketing rules stipulated by the Act came into force, including bans on advertising in public transport, 200 meters from a school, creche, or local authority playground, in cinemas except for films which are classified as over 18 and on children’s clothing.
More recently in November 2020, section 22 of the Act came into force which saw separation of alcohol in specified licensed premises. The introduction of these regulations is part of a process to de-normalize alcohol as an ordinary grocery product.
Alcohol is not an ordinary grocery product,” said Simon Harris, previous Minister of Health in Ireland as per, the Irish Sun.
By restricting access to alcohol products through promotions or loyalty card programmes, the regulations align with the objectives of the Public Health (Alcohol) Act 2018, which are to reduce alcohol consumption and reduce the harms caused by the misuse of alcohol.”Simon Harris, previous Minister of Health, Ireland
Irish communities are awaiting the implementation of the rest of the measures of the Act. However, neither the current Minister of Health, Stephen Donnelly, nor the Minister of State for Public Health, Frank Feighan, have indicated, or proposed a timeline, to commence the four major pillars of the Act – minimum unit pricing (MUP), content of advertising, labelling of products and a broadcast watershed, that remain outstanding. These measures would have a significant impact in reducing alcohol consumption and harm in Ireland.
The Irish government has been pushing back MUP implementation since 2019. But the Scottish example of successful MUP policy implementation has already proven the benefits, even within a short time frame, such as a 10% reduction in alcohol-related deaths in Scotland since MUP came into force.
The fundamental action that is required next is the immediate implementation of minimum pricing of alcohol products, which has been interminably delayed by government inertia, yielding to the concerns of the alcohol producers,” said Eunan McKinney, Head of Communications at Alcohol Action Ireland as per their website.Eunan McKinney, Head of Communications, Alcohol Action Ireland
The Irish Times: “New rules on sale of alcohol come into force today“
Alcohol Action Ireland: “ALCOHOL ACTION IRELAND WELCOMES ENDING OF PROMOTIONS THAT INCENTIVISE ALCOHOL USE”